Pledging Pacific aid while ignoring loss and damage is ‘like repairing a hole in the roof while the walls around it collapse’

SYDNEY, 21 October 2022 - Funding for the Pacific set to be announced today shows that while Australia is taking steps towards rebuilding its relationship with the region, it is failing to address the Pacific’s main existential threat and must commit to a Loss and Damage Finance Facility ahead of COP27, Greenpeace Australia Pacific says.

© Greenpeace / Jeremy Sutton-Hi

As part of its looming budget, the Albanese government will increase aid to Pacific countries by $900 million – funding earmarked for new security measures, infrastructure investment, and the expansion of the ABC’s content and transmission in the region. 

With the climate crisis already devastating Pacific Island nations through enormous losses to economies, infrastructure, and environments, Greenpeace Australia Pacific is calling on the Australian government to meet the gravity of the situation by following the EU, which overnight passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a Loss and Damage Finance Facility at COP27.

Sepesa Rasili, senior campaigner at Greenpeace Australia Pacific, said that while increased funding in the budget for the Pacific is welcomed, the commitments fail to address the impacts of the main existential threat to Pacific Island nations. 

“The impacts of climate change on the Pacific go beyond what can be addressed through traditional aid budgets. Our neighbours in the Pacific are seeing the destruction of critical infrastructure, land, food and crops, as well as loss of life, cultural heritage, and their future aspirations.

“As a major exporter of the fossil fuels that drive the climate crisis, Australia has a moral obligation and a legal responsibility to provide funding for loss and damage. 

“This is an idea which is now supported by the EU, China, and the G77. Australia’s shameful record of blocking loss and damage funding for over a decade places it as an outlier on the global stage, and betrays our relationship with the Pacific.

“Committing extra aid while ignoring the issue of loss and damage is like repairing a hole in the roof while the walls around it collapse.

“The Albanese government has ambitions to reestablish Australia as part of the Pacific family, step up on climate change on the world stage, and co-host a future COP with the Pacific. To achieve these goals, it must go beyond increasing existing aid budgets and meet the urgency of the moment by committing to a Loss and Damage Finance Facility at COP27. Pacific communities depend on it.”


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